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2014 Commencement ceremonies in three cities will honor nearly 2,000 new graduates

May 5, 2014

University of the Pacific will confer more than 1,900 degrees during four commencement ceremonies over the next six weeks, celebrating a graduating class that includes 210 new pharmacists, some 500 liberal arts majors and more than 100 new engineers.

All told, Pacific expects to award 950 bachelor's degrees, 356 master's degrees and 660 doctoral degrees.  

"Since our founding in 1851 we have grown into a comprehensive university with dynamic campuses in three cities. But commencement season always reminds us of what remains constant," said Pamela A. Eibeck, president of the university. "Our rigorous academics, rooted in a strong liberal arts foundation, continue to prepare students for personal and professional success. Our professors continue to put teaching first, and to know their students by name. And our graduates continue to be second to none."  

Members of the Class of 2014 are going on to internships, jobs and graduate schools, among other new adventures. Their ranks include a history major who has a Fulbright fellowship to study jazz in India; a graduate of the university's inaugural master of accountancy class who has taken a job at Deloitte LLP, one of the world's largest financial services firms; a new special education teacher whose first job is in the Sunnyvale Elementary School District; and a theater arts major who will pursue a master of fine arts degree in musical theater at the Boston Conservatory.  

Among the first commencement season events was a dessert reception for new graduates hosted by the Black Alumni Pacific Club at the Vereschagin Alumni House on the Stockton campus on Sunday, May 4. The season concludes on Sunday, June 15, with the commencement of the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco.  

The largest of the university's four commencements will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 10, at the Alex G. Spanos Center on the Stockton campus. There, amid pomp and tradition, one mother will receive a once-in-a-lifetime Mother's Day surprise. She will be ushered to a VIP seating area close to the stage, where she will see her son — whose name is being withheld to preserve the surprise — represent his class as the Commencement Student Speaker.  

"I'm going to talk about what the real value of a Pacific education is," said the Stockton native, who will graduate with a bachelor's degree in business administration and an emphasis in music management. "It's not just the credit hours, or the cost of tuition, or the blood, sweat and tears in the library. It's the sense of family, the support system, knowing that your professors know who you are and will go to bat for you."  

The guest Commencement Speaker will be former AT&T and General Motors CEO Edward E. Whitacre. The son and grandson of railroad workers, neither of whom had the opportunity to complete high school, Whitacre earned an engineering degree from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, in 1964 and built a career as an executive known for his hard work, plain speech, and willingness to embrace change.  

After the morning commencement, graduates will be hooded and receive their individual diplomas in six afternoon college ceremonies.    

Health sciences and law  
A week later, the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Pacific McGeorge School of Law will hold their commencements. Both will take place May 17.  

In addition to more than 200 doctor of pharmacy degrees, the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences will confer 39 doctorates in physical therapy, 30 bachelor's degrees in speech and language pathology, and more than 80 additional undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees in science and applied sciences.  

Carolyn M. Clancy, director of the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, will deliver the keynote speech. Clancy has devoted her career to improving health care quality and safety and reducing health care disparities. She launched the first annual report to Congress on health care disparities and health care quality.  

The commencement will be held at the Spanos Center on the Stockton campus.  

Pacific McGeorge School of Law, with its campus in Sacramento, will hold its commencement at the Memorial Auditorium at 1515 J St., with juris doctor degrees going to more than 200 new attorneys. In addition, the first two graduates of the school's new master of science in law will receive their diplomas.  

The Honorable Consuelo M. Callahan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will deliver the commencement address. Before her appointment to the federal bench, Callahan, a McGeorge alumna, served as deputy city attorney in Stockton, deputy district attorney and supervisory district attorney in San Joaquin County, and commissioner of the Stockton Municipal Court. She has also been a state Superior Court judge and an associate justice of the California Court of Appeal.    

The final event is the June 15 commencement of the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. For the first time, the school will hold the event in San Francisco's landmark Orpheum Theatre.  

Some 200 graduates will be awarded doctor of dental surgery degrees, bachelor of science degrees in dental hygiene, master of science degrees in orthodontics, and certificates of completion in advanced oral and maxillofacial surgery, among others. In keeping with school tradition, there will not be a guest commencement speaker.  

More honors  
macePacific awards its highest honors to distinguished individuals within and beyond the campus community during commencement season. Among the honors to be bestowed this spring:

Whitacre will receive an honorary doctorate. Past honorary doctorates have gone to Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb, human rights champion and alumna Sakena Yacoobi, labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, and jazz great and alumnus Dave Brubeck.

Gary Litton, a professor of engineering, will receive the Distinguished Faculty Award. One faculty member each year is selected for this honor, which recognizes outstanding accomplishment in teaching, research, creative endeavors and service to the university.

Eight people will receive the Order of Pacific, which recognizes members of the university community who have given distinguished service and made outstanding contributions to the university over a significant number of years.  

More commencement celebrations  

In addition to the May 4 Black Alumni reception, other celebrations will highlight Pacific's rich diversity:  

  • Wednesday, May 7: Lavender Graduation in the Vereschagin Alumni House
  • Thursday, May 8: Multicultural Graduation in the Janet Leigh Theatre
  • Friday, May 9: Latina/o Graduation at Grace Covell Banquet Hall and the Interfaith Baccalaureate Ceremony at Morris Chapel    

Class of 2014 overview    Statistical highlights of the new graduating class (numbers do not include McGeorge School of Law or Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry):  

  • New graduates range in age from 19 to 62.
  • 20 are veterans or the dependents of veterans.
  • 922 are women; 672 are men. 18 are Native American; 64 are African American; 187 are Hispanic; 544 are Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; 650 are non Hispanic white; and 58 identify themselves as multi-ethnic.
  • The College of the Pacific, the university's arts and sciences college, awarded 535 bachelor's and master's degrees.
  • The Conservatory of Music awarded 47 bachelor's and master's degrees.
  • The Gladys L. Benerd School of Education awarded 246 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees.
  • The School of Engineering and Computer Science awarded 211 bachelor's and master's degrees in fields ranging from bioengineering to engineering physics.  
  • The Eberhardt School of Business awarded 151 undergraduate degrees, 21 MBAs and its first 12 master of accounting degrees. 

For a complete schedule and additional commencement information, visit

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